A nature lover who planted flowers to brighten up the street outside her house has hit out after workmen “butchered” them.

Linda Symons has been watering and tending the flowers she planted at the base of a tree outside her home in Sydney Road, Muswell Hill, for several years.

The teacher, who runs forest school classes for children, claims people often complimented her on the display and nobody had raised any objections.

But last Wednesday (September 21), Mrs Symons’ husband encountered a man digging up the plants and was told that he was a contractor sent by Barnet Council.

The contractor - who Barnet Council say was a street sweeper - claimed that flowers were not supposed to be planted at the base of the tree as they take too much water from the ground.

Mrs Symons said: “I really look after the flowers and tend to them. I also look after the tree so it was rather counter-productive of them [to dig up the flowers].

“I was really upset. They just butchered it, they literally butchered it and left everything all over the ground.

“I really care about the environment and I would never do anything that was destructive.

“They’ve taken away the pleasure that people get in the community. It didn’t cost them anything and it wasn’t damaging the tree – the tree is flourishing.”

Mrs Symons claimed that while her plants were uprooted, some of the flowers planted by other neighbours were left untouched.

Ham & High: Some neighbouring trees were left untouched Some neighbouring trees were left untouched (Image: Linda Symons)

She added: “If they’d just said to me – can you cut it back – I’d have cut it back.

“But there was no communication and it feels really nasty, it really feels unpleasant.”

Barnet Council has now said that the plants should never have been uprooted and was the result of an error on behalf of street sweepers.

Cllr Alan Schneiderman, the council’s cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: “We’re sorry to hear that some flowers have been uprooted, it was a mistake by our street sweepers who, as part of their job keeping our streets clean and tidy, are tasked with removing weeds.

“We encourage the planting of bulbs and seeds like this, as it helps with the watering of trees and increases natural biodiversity in the borough.

“We will be contacting the residents affected and offering them seeds and/or bulbs in compensation.

“We will also make a plan on how to capture information or allow residents to let us know where they may have planted flowers or bulbs in this way so that we can let our front-line teams know.”